Sunday, March 9, 2014

The ART of War

More and more, the graphic novel is receiving the praise and respect it so deserves. From the time when comics were "just for kids" to now, when a timeless manual like Sun Tzu's Art of War can be adapted into a graphic story that follows its namesake's principles through a gritty dystopian future. Kelly Roman and Michael DeWeese do Sun Tzu justice with this exceptional homage. 

Kelly Roman was punished, but nothing could punish him like his own conscience did. Once released from prison, he discovered his brother, an employee of Sun Tzu, was murdered. For Shane, there is nothing more important than finding the person behind Shane's death. As he starts to dig, however, he finds the darker and more disturbing world that hides behind the surface of the global economy. No longer about just money and ethics, the obsession with power has led men to do or create things that can never be undone. The face of society has changed through the decisions of man, and one lone person will get to the root of the deepest evil, all in the name of revenge. 

I don't want to get too deep into the story behind Sun Tzu's original book because it is just too special, unique, and ground-breaking to steal that opportunity for discovery from you. The story itself could stand alone without Sun Tzu, but throughout the unfolding of the story, you will have little snippets of Sun Tzu's philosophy. Those snippets fold beautifully into the story, guiding you through the key purposes without just reiterating what was already written. Instead, it becomes an interpretation or reimagining. And it is truly something impressive to behold. I had never read Sun Tzu's Art of War from cover to cover in one fell swoop, but I was fairly familiar with it, and this was quite the interpretation and use of those ideas and philosophies. I was pretty surprised with how impressed I was, and I encouraged my husband to read it, who hadn't read the original, and he was equally as impressed. Therefore, this is a great book for anyone who is either well-versed or unfamiliar with the original. It will still have an amazing impact on any reader. 

The story is, of course, incredibly violent and graphic. There were times where I was actually taken aback by the violence, but I felt it was all necessary for this particular story; nothing was gratuitous. This does, however, make the book better for older readers who can handle a good amount of violence. I would certainly recommend this story for any reader, especially a gamer, who struggles to find a story that keeps them going from cover to cover. This story with its incredible two-colored illustrations and terrifyingly capturing story will grab hold of those readers in particular. So if you have a bunch of boys who claim to never have found a book they cared about, try this one out- I think they will have a tough time putting it down!

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